The Tab Reviews: Jerusalem


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Following the drug-fuelled, high-on-life endeavours of Johnny ‘Rooster’ Byron as he leads his troops of intoxicated teenagers to help him taunt the establishment, don't be misled by the religious undertones of the play's title: it's a far cry from anything holy.

Letterbox Production's rendition of Jerusalem is, as expected, a dynamic and entertaining performance. The window into adolescence is far from rose-tinted. This seesawing, hysterical and moving production fulfilled all the dramatic genres it promised, expertly supported by its ingenious visual and technical production teams.

George Tarling as Johnny 'Rooster' Byron

Despite being billed as an amateur production, the bulk of the performances indicated anything but. The stage saw George Tarling conquer his first lead role as Johnny 'Rooster' Byron, an immensely flawed yet indisputably endearing drug-addled idol to his impressionable motley crew; what a sensational debut!

Striding onto the stage, Tarling immediately grabs your attention and holds it in a vice throughout. His performance was perfectly complemented by that of Kishore Thiagarajan-Walker appearing as Ginger – the pathetically loyal friend committed to Byron and his lifestyle.

The onstage relationship showcases the artistic range of the cast. Their comedic scenes are genuinely funny. Who doesn't love banterous back-and-forth and fantastical anecdotes (i.e. talking bollocks)? They confidently trace the emotional trajectory of the play, transitioning seamlessly from edgy jokes to more tragic and sobering scenes.

The comedic contributions to the play are sustained by the flawless exchanges between four unlikely friends: the Professor, Ginger, Lee and Davy. The worryingly rigid script of the play was trounced by Twining and Evans’ perfect comedic timing and their believable and engaging dynamic.

The Professor's misdirected intellectual ramblings were humbled by his embracement of the delinquent teenage behaviours. Lindon’s intoxicated thespian portrayal makes him a loveable, impressionable and hysterically funny father figure in their dysfunctional family tree.

Overall, it was an enticing and followable performance, with a turbulent emotive plot, carried by the more experienced cast members. The acting was incredibly well characterised without being caricatured, avoiding slipping into Vicky Pollard despite the danger of the questionable West country accent. A Durham must see.